In the Southern Historical Collection, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (#5205-z)
W. B. W. Heartsill was born in 1841 near Louisville, Tenn., southwest of Knoxville, Tenn. He served in the Army of the Confederate States of America in many positions, including captain and Chief of Police for East Tennessee. He later served as a spy and a scout with Osborne's Scouts, an independent company of Tennessee scouts. After the war ended, Heartsill moved to Arkansas
Handwritten manuscript entitled "A Confederate Desperado" by W. B. W. Heartsill. The manuscript tells the story of J. J. Cox (or Jo. J. Cox), a lieutenant in the Confederate States of America Army who deserted his post while serving with the 1st Louisiana Infantry Regiment in 1862. The narrative begins with Cox's arrest and imprisonment in the Castle Thunder Prison in Richmond, Va. The narrative details Cox's escape from prison and his many subsequent escapes from military custody. After Cox's escape from military guard in Bristol, Tenn., W. B. W. Heartsill was charged with investigating the escape and with finding Cox. Upon his recapture, Cox was sent to Heartsill's office in Bristol, and Heartsill worked to secure Cox's release as part of the general amnesty offered to Confederate deserters by Jefferson Davis on 1 August 1863. Heartsill went on to advocate on Cox's behalf in two subsequent incidents: once when Cox was arrested on a theft charge, and again when Cox was arrested on the old desertion charge. Meanwhile, Heartsill left his position as Chief of Police in March 1864 and became a scout, eventually joining Osborne's Scouts in May of that year. The narrative details various missions and engagements with Federal forces undertaken by Heartsill, sometimes accompanied by Cox. The narrative ends with the conclusion of the war and a brief account of Cox's life after the war, ending with his death in a cholera epidemic in 1866. Heartsill's opinion of Cox throughout the book was very positive; he lauded Cox's courage, good humor, and resourcefulness, and sought to disavow his reputation as a "desperate character."